So, here’s a birds-eye view of the past 10 months: love and growth.
I’ve grown as a person in ways that I can feel but can’t quite put my finger on. My family and friends back home will probably be the ones who point out the changes in me. This year has been challenging and rewarding, frustrating and joyful, and all of it has been a blessing and a learning experience.
But it’s not over yet! I’ve still got a month, and I’ll continue to work and build relationships with my community in the time I have left -- specifically at The Link during drop-in sessions and special summer programs, at Regent Street Presbyterian during Sunday mornings and Vacation Bible School (aka Holiday Bible Club), and with my fellow Belfast YAVs!
People-that-I-love #1: Youth and staff at The Link!
|Victory smiles and tongues after walking the Ards Half Marathon
People-that-I-love #2: Young and old and in-between at Regent Street Presbyterian!
|Canoeing in Enniskillen
|Putt Putt Golfing in the rain -- only in Northern Ireland!
They are an incredibly warm and welcoming congregation, and I’ve had BUCKETS O’ FUN with the Youth Fellowship this year. Some of these teenagers are the most lovable and ridiculous human beings I’ve had the privilege of ever bonding with. I wish everyone in the world could meet them and come to love them the way I do.
|Jayne and I with our new accessories!
Recently, myself and another young woman in the church, Jayne, began leading a Youth Alpha course on Sunday mornings, and it has been a wonderful opportunity for us to look at the heart of Christianity. It also provides an opportunity for young people to ask questions about faith and life. Just as their minds, bodies, and personalities are growing in new and weird ways, teenagers are growing in their understanding of the universe and their role within it. I love this age group; they always surprise me in their wisdom and creativity as they are learning to think for themselves. Some of the most profound things I’ve heard this year have come from the mouths of "immature" teens.
People-that-I-love #3: BELFAST YAVs!!!
Aww, aren't we precious?
Uhh... actually, this is way more accurate.
Seriously, it's going to break my heart when it comes time to say goodbye, and I thank God for the blessing of new friends who have been a constant support and comfort for me this year. And, even though it's painful, I thank God for the experience of missing others, because it means I have loved deeply.
"So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples." John 13:34-35